African Nations Call for Somalia Blockade
A six-nation east African body has urged the U.N. to impose an aerial and maritime blockade on Somalia, where local fighters are trying to oust the government.
At a Wednesday meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the secretary general of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) called for harmonizing the actions of African nations to counter the threat from Somalia’s local fighters.
It called on the U.N. Security Council to “impose a no-fly zone, except for humanitarian purposes authorized by the government” and to impose a blockade “on sea ports particularly Kismayo and Merka to prevent the further in-flow of arms and foreign fighters”.
The African Union commission Chief Jean Ping, who attended the IGAD meeting, once again called for a U.N. peacekeeping force in Somalia to respond to the threat to international security.
“I wish to once again call on the U.N. Security Council to authorize the deployment of a fully-fledged peacekeeping mission in Somalia and respond to the threat to the international peace and security,” he said.
Ping’s call comes only days after a U.N. delegation visiting the region said conditions for deploying peacekeepers were not appropriate yet.
The IGAD is made up of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. Eritrea suspended its membership in 2007.
Renewed violence in Somalia has killed over 100 people and has displaced over 40-thousand in less than two weeks.
Somalia has been subject to a U.N. arms embargo for many years but weapons are still freely available in the Mogadishu weapons market.
Eritrea is suspended from Igad and could now be barred from the African Union.
“There is incontrovertible evidence that Asmara and Eritrea is involved in arming, training, recruiting and supplies to the insurgents in Somalia,” Kenya’s Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula told the BBC.
In addition to Eritrea, analysts say that weapons also reach Somalia from Yemen. >>>
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